Shnuggle, has put together a collective of companies throughout Northern Ireland to help Heroic Key Workers in this time of COVID-19 crisis.
Recognising that we had spare research and development capacity, Adam Murphy, our Co-Founder set about contacting local companies to ask for their help in producing Emergency Face Shields for the NHS and other Key Workers in Northern Ireland.
A number of companies that specialise in the precision engineering sector came forward to offer to manufacture the vital medical equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and together this group – known as “Hero Shield Ltd” – are working hard to design, test and produce emergency two-piece face shields.
From an initial idea on Friday 20th March, the collective is expecting the first batch of an expected hundreds of thousands of face shields, which can be used as personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line medical staff throughout Northern Ireland, to start coming off the production line by Friday 3rd April. Just 2 weeks from, idea to reality!
“Despite official information, we are hearing that key workers all over Ireland are short of essential PPE equipment” says Adam. “We saw an opportunity to use our skills to create a low-cost, fast manufacture face shield right here in Northern Ireland, which would be distributed free of charge or at-cost wherever they are needed and Hero Shields was born. We will sell some inventory at a small profit to private companies who have key workers at risk, which will raise funds to make even more Hero Shields.”
This belief has been backed up by the overwhelming response from NHS workers throughout northern Ireland, as the website, http://www.heroshield.net, has over 2,400 orders of 10 packs of Free HeroShields – that’s 24,000 face shields requested in under 5 days!
Metal toolmaker Crossen Engineering at Crossnacreevy and Lisburn-based Ad-Vance Engineering have produced two injection mould tools in record time. These will be used by Crossen Engineering and Plastics 2000 to produce the mouldings for the quick-assembly face mask.
Brett Martin in Newtownabbey, a global player supplying specialist plastic products for the construction, fabrication, print and display sectors, will supply the material (PET) for the front shield, which is being cut to size by Cutting Industries in Lisburn before being packaged together in a clean room environment by Denroy Plastics in Bangor.
“It’s remarkable how quickly this has all come together. Our emergency workers are keeping us alive right now, but they can only do that if they stay healthy. They need proper protective equipment. Face masks are essential, but for maximum protection, they should be used with a full face visor, and right now there are not enough of them. That means workers are getting sick – and sick workers cannot save lives and it puts their families at risk.”
Initially the devices will only be available in Northern Ireland due to overwhelming demand, but in the coming weeks, it’s hoped these can be offered into the rest of the UK and Ireland. The group are also making their design available to companies worldwide on a “open source” basis so that the project can be re-created wherever it’s needed.
Hero Shield is a not-for-profit entity, but needs to raise funds to help keep the project going during COVID-19. Adam has set up a crowd-funding campaign with a target of £50,000 to cover some of the costs.
The team particularly welcomes corporate sponsorship, and has already received a generous donation from Argento founder, Pete Boyle along with the offer of logistics support.